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The Discipline of Grace

July 16, 2007

The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges is a book that has forever affected my view of justification.  For this reason alone, I highly recommend this amazing book, even if you only read the first three chapters.

One of the key things I have taken from this book, even years later, is that no matter how good or bad we are, we are still accepted by God.  I actually heard Jerry Bridges preach the material in those chapters, and this sermon is one of the few I specifically remember from my teenage years.  It was that life changing for me.

The illustration I constantly take away from both the sermon and the book is the one where he describes two different days in the life of a Christian.  First, you have the great day.  You read your Bible that morning, have a good morning with your family, go to work and get many things accomplished.  You are courteous to your co-workers, have a good attitude in the car, and get back home.  That evening, as you go out with a non-Christian friend for coffee, he asks you to share your faith.  How do you feel about this?  Will you do well?  Will God be with you as you share the Gospel with this person?

Now, take another day.  You miss your devotional time completely.  You snap at your wife and kids before work.  This distracts you all day at work, and you are unable to get anything done.  You are generally short, both with co-workers, and with traffic on the way home.  You have had a lousy day in general.  However, you are still meeting for coffee with this unbelieving friend that night, and he asks you to share the gospel.  How confident of your success are you now?  Will God bless your sharing of the gospel with this person?

Bridges points out that our answer to these two questions points out if we are legalists or grace filled Christians.  If we think that we will have more success in the first example and not the second, then we are basing our acceptance before God on our good works, not on Christ’s completed work on our behalf.  It doesn’t matter how good or bad our performance has been – if we are in Christ, God will be with us no matter how good or bad we do.  This is so important to know – if we don’t realize this, we will never really be “good enough” to merit God’s blessing on our lives.

Jerry Bridges’ treatment of legalism was the first one I really grasped as a young man, and I am grateful for his treatment of this subject.  I recommend this book for its cross centered approach to legalism and grace – if properly understood, it will change your life forever.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2007 7:58 pm


    What happened to book week?

  2. July 23, 2007 12:31 am


    I was having a life. You really should try it.

    (Yeah, I got distracted. Sorry. I’d like to cultivate discipline in writing by doing this, and it really hasn’t taken root yet. I’ve got two book posts coming tonight, and then I’m going to go on to other stuff, like obscure characters in Job.)

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